The Fresno Bee will transfer its printing and packaging operations to The Sacramento Bee beginning Aug. 1, president and publisher Tom Cullinan announced Wednesday.
Cullinan said The Bee will remain a seven-day-a-week printed newspaper, while continuing its growth as a digital-first media company. By moving its Fresno printing and packaging operations, he said, The Bee will free up resources to allow it to continue to be the dominant news operation in the region.
The change will mean the elimination of 27 full-time and 57 part-time positions, Cullinan said. Eligible employees will receive severance payments, extension of their company-paid health benefits and outplacement services.
One of the key reasons for the move is that the Fresno press has an aging and costly printing-plate technology that makes it one of the most expensive printing operations in the country, compared with the traditional offset press in Sacramento.
“As we continue with our ongoing digital strategies to meet the needs of our changing readership, we must find operational efficiencies to reduce the newspaper’s legacy costs,” Cullinan said.
A trend in the newspaper industry has been to combine operations to save money and invest in news gathering, Cullinan said. This is a move that positions The Fresno Bee for growth, and keeps the newspaper strong and profitable as it serves it customer base, he said.
“Keep in mind that our content has never been read by so many people in the history of the newspaper on our print and digital platforms,” Cullinan said.
The Bee reaches 520,000 individual readers each week in print and online.
“We are committed to Fresno, and our readers throughout Central California,” Cullinan said. “We remain absolutely committed to providing a high-quality newspaper to our loyal print-edition readers while also focusing on serving our rapidly growing digital audience.”